Thursday, July 31, 2008

OUR WONDERFUL WORLD
Chinese Commie Condom Capitalists

Beijing Olympics: Cheeky condom adverts released Olympic-themed condom adverts have been released in China to coincide with the start of the 2008 Beijing Games. The cheeky adverts, which depict stick-man athletes using condoms as apparatus in Olympic events, have become a viral sensation in China. The contraceptives prove themselves remarkably versatile, standing in as bicycle wheels, basketball nets, archery targets and gymnastic rings. A ribbed condom is also used to illustrate choppy water in the swimming version of the campaign. The adverts were made for Chinese condom-maker Elasun, with the broken English slogan “Sports make you health”....
4 Senate Dems urge EPA chief to resign Four Senate Democrats called on EPA chief Stephen Johnson to resign Tuesday, alleging that he gave misleading testimony to Congress and repeatedly bowed to pressure from the White House to avoid regulating greenhouse gases. California Sen. Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and three other Democrats on the panel - Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey - also announced they are urging Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate whether Johnson made false statements to Congress. Mukasey's office said it was still reviewing the request late Tuesday. The pressure on Johnson is part of an escalating battle between Democrats in Congress and the White House over climate change policy. Democrats are seizing on new evidence that Johnson overrode the opinions of Environmental Protection Agency scientists and reversed two of his own decisions at the request of the White House....
Environmentalists, businesses reach compromise Governmental inaction is prompting environmental groups and big business to cut unprecedented deals to promote energy exploration and other development in return for major conservation initiatives. The agreements preserve large amounts of undeveloped land, impose stricter environmental practices than required by law and generate big investments in alternative energy. The deals also clear the way for oil drilling, new power plants and large residential developments. Experts say the move to private agreements reflects a loss of faith in the government's ability to handle some of the USA's most pressing environmental disputes. "I started off believing in regulation, but government agencies compromise and change rules," San Francisco environmental lawyer Clem Shute says. "These private deals are a pragmatic way to accomplish good things." Steven Hayward, an environmental scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, says the agreements signal an era of "practical environmentalism." He says Congress has been in a stalemate for decades on major environmental legislation, especially on emerging issues such as land conservation, transportation and energy. That has forced businesses and environmental groups to reach out to each other, often after sparring a few rounds in court....
Al Gore's Curiously Cost-Free Plan to Re-Power America On July 17, Nobelist and Academy Award winner Al Gore issued a stirring challenge to our nation to produce 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and carbon-free sources within 10 years. Gore asserted, "The quickest, cheapest and best way to start using all this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses." This massive push for no-carbon electricity production would help prevent climate change and cut our dependence on foreign oil. Of course, great-souled visionaries such as Gore do not concern themselves with piddling and mundane issues such as who will pay for this marvelous no-carbon energy future and how much it will cost. Not being burdened with a great soul, I decided to don my green eyeshade and make a preliminary stab at figuring out how much Gore's scheme might cost us. According to the Energy Information Administration, the existing capacity of U.S. coal, gas, and oil generating plants totals around 850,000 megawatts. So how much would it cost to replace those facilities with solar electric power? Let's use the recent announcement of a 280-megawatt thermal solar power plant in Arizona for $1 billion as the starting point for an admittedly rough calculation. Combined with a molten salt heat storage systems, solar thermal might be able to provide base load power. Crunching the numbers (850,000 megawatts/280 megawatts x $1 billion) produces a total capital cost of just over $3 trillion over the next ten years. What about wind power?....
The Reality Revolt Quite a few Democrats are rebelling against their leadership and joining with Republicans to push for more domestic oil drilling. They've gotten an earful from voters who demand real solutions. When the Energy Department on Wednesday reported an unexpected drop in gasoline inventories of more than 3.5 million barrels, the first decline in five weeks, the global price of crude oil proceeded to shoot up more than $4 a barrel, the biggest increase since July 10. That illustrates what the issue of high gas prices is all about — not fat-cat oil execs gouging at the pump (a smear that has been repeatedly disproved), and not the purported need for uncompetitive substitutes like ethanol that cause global food prices to skyrocket, but rather the simple fact of supply and demand. The Democratic leadership in Congress has been trying to distract from that truth and use high gas prices to please the green special interests (and, of course, cripple the Bush presidency). When asked last week why she would not allow a House vote on drilling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi answered: "What the president would like to do is to have validation for his failed policy."....
It’s a tradition No one living remembers the first Velma Old Settlers Picnic, as it took place before the turn of the 20th century. This year, the event starts today and runs through Saturday in Velma and marks the 118th year that the picnic has been held. Besides being a picnic, it is also known for a traditional ranch rodeo that takes place the first night. Ranch rodeo is different from most rodeos seen today because it encompasses more of the traditional skills that were once requisites on a ranch. “It goes back to the roots of rodeo,” said Terry Sutton, who helped organize this year’s event. Some of the events tonight will be milking wild cows, team doctoring and simulated calf-branding....
Farm dog sparked career Miles Allen knows first-hand what a good border collie can do for a person’s spirits. Seven years ago, while he was going through devastating treatments for Hepatitis C, a friend gave him a female collie. Allen, now 59, had gone from a strapping, robust 200 pounds to 140 pounds as he struggled to rally from his illness. Doctors gave him a 50 percent chance of surviving the ordeal. “That dog got me up and going,” he said during a recent visit to his place in Williamson County where he lives with his wife Peggy, his father-in-law, about 40 border collies and a sampling of his trophy rams. As the son of an itinerant ranch hand, Allen grew up all over the state, working the ranches with his father and attending a different school every year. “I enjoyed it,” he said. “All my family was ranchers. We ranched in Coleman County, and I still go up there and help my uncle. We run about 100 rams there in Santa Anna.” Allen was familiar with border collies before he got the dog that got him up and going. But after his illness, he settled in to raising dogs along with the trophy rams. He also worked as a truck driver, first for a local Charolais ranch then as a long-haul truck driver. He always had a border collie with him when he was hauling cattle and used them when he worked on ranches. In 2003, Allen’s female collie won first place at a trial in Odessa. He bought a male dog, developed a breeding plan and put a certain number of the offspring up for sale. The results have given him at least a break-even living along with a lot of happy customers....
Cattle take to really slow lane A stretch of Interstate 84 is the really, really slow lane once a year. A Morgan County family drives its cattle from one ranch to another annually and there is no getting around the freeway, which the cattle trod for about half a day as the ranchers control traffic. The Utah Department of Transportation doesn't like it, and neither does the Pentz family, but they say there are few other options. “First of all, it's a way to get our cattle from point A to point B, but it's also kind of a historical thing for us,” rancher Lane Pentz said. “We have been doing it for three generations, before the highway even came through here, but it gets tougher and tougher every year.” The Pentzes have been driving cattle through northern Utah since the area was open range. They still managed through fences and other developments, but are stuck by I-84. With 400 head of beef cattle, the family doesn't want to truck the herd the 14 miles between ranches....
Wagon Train Headed To Deadwood
It's history dating back a century but people from around the country are reliving it today. Wagon trains used to travel a trail through western South Dakota to get to the Black Hills. The trail was a busy path at one time, but it hasn't been used since 1908. Now more than 300 people are on the trail again, heading west the old way. They travel at three and a half miles an hour… "I'm doing it because I enjoy it," Wagon Master Gerald Kessler said. Two hundred miles from Fort Pierre to Deadwood. "Well I get to ride with my cousins and get to meet friends," Gerald’s grandson Lane Kessler said. Travelers on the trail were once motivated by gold sitting at the other end. Reasons for taking the trip today are too many to count. There's Kylie Kessler. "My mule's nice," she said. Kylie is one of four big reasons Wagon Master Gerald Kessler calls the trip across the prairie worth it....
'Smithing was once a necessity For a town to survive in the pioneer days of Clay County, it need three things — a doctor, a general store and, for what one couldn’t cure and the other didn’t sell, a blacksmith shop. Blacksmiths, the forerunners of today’s welders and fabricaters, were relied on by farmers and ranchers for repair work and the building of new parts for anything steel, including wagon and plow parts, branding irons and just about everything else. The tradition of the blacksmith, his trade and tools, forge and anvil, were commonplace in communities across the county, and the world, well into the 1940s said Homer Calvin Kelton from his modest south Henrietta home Sunday. Kelton, 85, was the last in a long line of Clay County blacksmiths. The Kelton shop records and a board on which Calvin tested branding irons have been displayed at the Clay County Historical Society’s 1890 Jail Museum. “Blacksmithing had been going strong since Bible times,” said Kelton. “But, after World War II, the world began to change — and change fast.”....
Shaken Berry-Pickers Report Sasquatch Sighting in Ontario, Canada, Woods A mother and daughter on a berry-picking excursion in northwestern Ontario, Canada, claim the giant, black, hulking figure they saw last week might be the legendary sasquatch, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported Monday. Helen Pahpasay and her mother say they were scared stiff when they saw the mysterious creature spot them in their truck and then run into the woods near Grassy Narrows, Ont., about 140 miles east of Winnipeg, Manitoba. "It was black, about eight feet long and all black, and the way it walked was upright, human-like, but more — I don't know how to describe it — more of a husky walk, I guess," Pahpasay told CBC News. “It didn’t look normal.” The women considered chasing the figure to get a better look, but were so shaken they abandoned berry picking altogether and returned home. Pahpasay claims others later found a large, six-toed footprint in the area. “What do I think it was? Right now I'm not even sure what it was. But it really scared both of us,” she said. “There's been talk of Bigfoot, sasquatch. And I'm still not sure what it was, but I've never seen anything like it."....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

YOUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK

Democrat Senate Passed 94% of Bills without Debate or Roll Call Vote Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) dismissed Democratic claims of obstructionism and expressed outrage last week over a government report that shows the majority of bills that have passed in the Democrat-controlled Senate of the 110th Congress have done so without any debate or even a vote. “The U.S. Senate has a nine percent approval rating, because the American people believe that much of our work is done in secret with no debate, no transparency and no accountability,” Coburn told reporters at press conference Wednesday at the Capitol. “This report shows that the reality is worse than the public’s fears. Instead of encouraging open debate, I’m disappointed that Majority Leader Reid often chooses secrecy or demagoguery,” he added. Coburn was referring to a non-partisan study released on June 10 by the government’s Congressional Research Service (CRS), which indicates that 855 of the 911 bills passed by the Senate of the 110th Congress have been streamlined by Democratic Party leadership with a procedural tactic known as Unanimous Consent (UC), which requires no debate or even a vote....
SBA Works to Correct Fraud, Abuse in HUBZone Program The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was “truly shocked” by allegations before a House committee last week that the Historically Underutilzed Business Zone (HUBZone) program was susceptible to fraud and abuse, and the SBA has taken steps to correct problems in the program, an SBA administrator said. A GAO investigation of the HUBZone program, conducted from January to June 2008, found that 10 of the 17 HUBZone-certified programs they surveyed fell short of eligibility requirements. The government watchdog uncovered that many of the companies involved listed addresses in HUBZones but employed no workers at those sites, operating instead from principal corporate headquarters in prosperous Washington, D.C., suburbs. All of the programs surveyed were in the Washington, D.C. area. As part of its investigation, the GAO also told Congress it was able to obtain HUBZone certification for four fictional companies. The HUBZone program, created in 1997 under the Small Business Reauthorization Act, encourages federal contracting opportunities for small business firms in economically distressed areas....
Report: Empty Iraq prison a $40 million failure In the flatlands north of Baghdad sits a prison with no prisoners. It holds something else: a chronicle of U.S. government waste, misguided planning and construction shortcuts costing $40 million and stretching back to the American overseers who replaced Saddam Hussein. "It's a bit of a monument in the desert right now because it's not going to be used as a prison," said Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, whose office plans to release a report Monday detailing the litany of problems at the vacant detention center in Khan Bani Saad. The pages also add another narrative to the wider probes into the billions lost so far on scrubbed or substandard projects in Iraq and one of the main contractors accused of failing to deliver, the Parsons construction group of Pasadena, Calif. "This is $40 million invested in a project with very little return," Bowen told The Associated Press in Washington. "A couple of buildings are useful. Other than that, it's a failure." In the pecking order of corruption in Iraq, the dead-end prison project at Khan Bani Saad is nowhere near the biggest or most tangled. Bowen estimated up to 20 percent "waste" — or more than $4 billion — from the $21 billion spent so far in the U.S.-bankrolled Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund....
9 legislators have been charged since 2000
Members of Congress charged with crimes since 2000: July 29, 2008: Senator Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, indicted on seven counts of falsely reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of services he received from an oil services company. Feb. 22, 2008: Representative Rick Renzi, Arizona Republican, indicted on charges of extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes in a land swap that authorities say helped him collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs. June 11, 2007: Senator Larry Craig, Idaho Republican, arrested in a bathroom sex sting at the Minneapolis airport. Pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Now asking a state appeals court to let him withdraw his guilty plea. June 4, 2007: Representative William Jefferson, Louisiana Democrat, indicted on federal charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes, and money laundering in a long-running bribery investigation into business deals....
FLE

How a Young Lawyer Saved the Second Amendment For decades the Second Amendment might as well have been called the Second-Class Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court spent the late 20th century expansively interpreting the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth amendments, not to mention unenumerated rights ranging from travel to sexual privacy. But not until last month did the court hold that the Second Amendment means what it says: that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." What took so long? I put the question to Alan Gura, the 37-year-old wunderkind lawyer who represented the plaintiffs in District of Columbia v. Heller. The meaning of the Second Amendment had long been disputed because of its prefatory clause, "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state . . ." Opponents of gun rights argued that the Founders meant to establish only a "collective right" -- authorization for states to raise militias. The Supreme Court had not addressed the question since 1939, when it held, in U.S. v. Miller, that sawed-off shotguns were not appropriate for use in a militia and therefore could be banned. The Miller decision "was agreed by everybody to be somewhat murky and inconclusive," Mr. Gura says. "We read the case, like a lot of people, to mean that it's an individual right." But firearm foes claimed that the court had endorsed the collective-rights theory....
After court ruling, towns rush to repeal gun bans In 1981, this quiet northern Chicago suburb made history by becoming the first municipality in the nation to ban the possession of handguns. Twenty-seven years later, Morton Grove has repealed its law, bowing to a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that affirmed homeowners' right to keep guns for self-defense. It's one of several Illinois communities - reluctant to spend money on legal fights - rushing to repeal their gun bans after the court struck down a Washington, D.C., ban, even as cities such as Chicago and San Francisco stand firm. Mayor Richard Krier acknowledges Morton Grove's place in history, but said that didn't affect the village board's 5-1 decision Monday to amend its ordinance to allow the possession of handguns. The village still bans the sale of guns. The National Rifle Association and others carried their enthusiasm straight to federal court, suing the city of Chicago and Mayor Richard Daley, a vocal supporter of gun control, and the Chicago suburbs of Morton Grove, Evanston and Oak Park. Wilmette, another northern Chicago suburb, voted to repeal its ban. Officials there said they believe they weren't sued by the NRA because the village stopped enforcing its 1989 ban after the high court ruling....
Research Raises Questions About ‘Policing for Profit’ If a police officer stops a motorist and discovers cash and narcotics during the stop, the officer may have the authority to confiscate the car as an instrument of crime and the money as probable proceeds of criminal activity. Asset forfeiture laws allow governments to seize citizens’ private property, including real estate, vehicles and currency, if they are tied to illegal conduct. Although the laws dictating who will receive the proceeds vary from state to state, critics have long contended that these laws lead to “policing for profit.” UT Dallas criminologists John Worrall and Tom Kovandzic have completed one of the only studies that looks at the application of asset forfeiture laws and whether the laws affect the goals and actions of police departments. The study titled, “Is Policing for Profit? Answers from Asset Forfeiture” is published in the most recent issue of Criminology and Public Policy. Worrall and Kovandzic, both criminology professors in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, analyzed 572 police departments around the country to look at the big picture of how asset forfeiture laws might influence policing. Their data came from the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics survey and the U.S. Justice Department Asset Forfeiture Program. Worrall and Kovandzic found that money does matter. The prospect of receiving money may drive forfeiture activities. This finding was consistent, regardless of the varying state regulations regarding the division of the proceeds. Even in the most restrictive states, police departments can get back up to 80 percent of the proceeds by working with the federal government in a process called equitable sharing. These findings are timely as rising gas prices and a changing economy leave police departments faced with growing budget constraints. “As agencies become more desperate, there’s the potential for the situation to worsen. We could see a lot more interest in creative sources of funding,” said Worrall....
Deputizing Company Counsel as Agents of the Federal Government Policymakers must reexamine the manner in which corporations and other organizations that are suspected of wrongdoing are investigated. In the aftermath of the Enron scandal, laws like Sarbanes-Oxley, combined with recent changes to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, have substantially increased the penalties on companies and individuals for white-collar offenses. The combination of draconian sentences, lack of meaningful judicial control over the imposition of sanctions, and the impossible burdens on company officers have jeopardized the very nature of our adversary system of justice. To avoid the potential catastrophe of a federal indictment, business firms are taking extraordinary steps to placate federal prosecutors. And those prosecutors now regularly insist on the following: * That business firms surrender or "waive" their attorney-client privilege, * That firms must pressure their employees to waive their constitutional right against self-incrimination, * That firms facing indictment refuse to advance legal fees to employees under investigation — even if a firm concludes that an employee was just following directions or is otherwise innocent of any wrongdoing, and * That embattled firms must discharge certain employees at the direction of the government — even if a firm concludes that an employee was just following directions or is otherwise innocent of any wrongdoing. Any organization that balks at the government's demands risks months of negative publicity as prosecutors characterize a legal defense as "impeding" or "obstructing" the investigation. It is no overstatement to say that the enforcement of the criminal law, at least insofar as it applies to investigations of organizations, amounts to a state-sponsored shakedown scheme in which business firms are extorted to pay penalties that are grossly out of proportion to any actual misconduct....
Flint seeks sponsors for police surveillance cameras Willing to spend $30,000 to put your name on a camera? The City of Flint is looking for sponsors for surveillance cameras that will be mounted around the city to keep a watch out for crooks. In exchange for cash, the city will plaster business names next to police logos on the pole-mounted camera boxes that sport a blue police light that flashes 24 hours a day. Don't have $30,000? Depending on the size of the check, smaller logos and even people's names can be placed on the boxes similar to those found on a NASCAR racer. The "Adopt-A-PODSS" program is part of an unique partnership between the city and Asset Protection Specialists, a private security firm in Flint....
Failing to Pardon Border Agents Called ‘Worst Black Mark’ on Bush Three Republican congressmen on Tuesday urged President Bush to grant pardons to two former Border Patrol agents, both of whom face more than 10 years in prison for shooting an illegal immigrant as he fled towards the U.S.-Mexico border. One of the congressman said if Bush failed to pardon the agents it would represent “the worst black mark” on his presidency. “We are calling on President Bush to take this opportunity to show this Christian charity that he always talks about,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) during a news conference in his Washington, D.C., office. Rohrabacher joined Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) in decrying a federal appeals court decision Monday that uphold the prison terms for former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. The appeals court vacated Ramos’ and Compean’s convictions on obstruction charges and sent the case back for re-sentencing. The sentences are unlikely to be reduced, however, because the court did not reverse the Border Patrol agents’ convictions for discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime. This charge has a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years....
New immigration strategy — Deport yourself Rather than risk getting caught, turn yourselves in. That's the latest government strategy in its ongoing effort to dramatically reduce the nation's ballooning population of illegal immigrants. Scheduled to be unveiled next week, it was announced Sunday by Julie Myers, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in an interview with a Spanish-language television network. Myers told the network that "Operation Scheduled Departure" will allow illegal immigrants without criminal records a chance to literally "self-deport" by turning themselves in to her agents. She said the idea derived from a common complaint voiced by immigrant detainees: If given the opportunity, they'd rather just go home than be holed up in immigration prisons. Under the new program, those still walking free will have the chance to walk into ICE offices, be processed and get a few weeks to arrange their affairs, pack their belongings and ship out of the country without being detained....
Mexico's Drug Cartels Take Barbarous Turn: Targeting Bystanders The three teenagers started their big weekend singing "Happy Birthday" to the parish priest. The next day, they prayed for hours with their church youth group, then went on to a quinceaƱera, Mexico's archetypal 15th-birthday celebration. As the party wound down, they talked their parents into letting them go for a late-night cruise down the main drag in Guamuchil, a Saturday night ritual in this sleepy market town, friends and family say. During that cruise, investigators believe the teens inadvertently blocked drug cartel assassins in hot pursuit of their enemies. Once police arrived in the wee hours of July 13, the assassins were gone but the three teens and a 12-year-old girl who was riding with them lay dead in their cars. Four others -- another teenager and three adults -- were dead in nearby cars. There were 539 bullet casings on the ground. The killings here -- a massacre of eight people who were not suspected of drug-trafficking ties -- punctuated a vicious turn in Mexico's drug war, a savage conflict between rival cartels and the federal government that has taken more than 7,000 lives in the past 2 1/2 years....Prohibition didn't work in the past and it ain't working now.
EPA silences employees The Environmental Protection Agency is telling its pollution enforcement officials not to talk with congressional investigators, reporters and even the agency's own inspector general, according to an internal e-mail provided to The Associated Press. The June 16 message instructs 11 managers in the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, the branch of the agency charged with making sure environmental laws are followed, to remind their staff members to keep quiet. "If you are contacted directly by the IG's office or GAO requesting information of any kind . . . please do not respond to questions or make any statements," reads the e-mail sent by Robbi Farrell, the division's chief of staff. Instead, staff members should forward inquiries to a designated EPA representative, the memo says. The EPA, in an official statement, said Monday the e-mail was aimed at making agency responses to the press, EPA's inspector general and Congress' General Accountability Office more efficient, consistent and coordinated. The EPA also said officials could still talk to investigators as long as they checked in with the appropriate representatives. About 900 lawyers and technical support staff are employed by the division at EPA headquarters in Washington....I'm surprised EPA hasn't done this before. It's SOP for most agencies.
Black churches urge action on global warming For the first time, one of South Carolina’s largest alliances of black churches has spoken out, warning of the dangers of human-caused global warming. Global warming is real and poses different threats including drought, larger storms like Katrina and forest fires, leaders of the state’s African American denominations of the National Council of Churches said Monday. It represents some 2,000 churches in South Carolina. “We are called as Christians to get involved in the climate debate,” said Dr. Benjamin Snoddy, president of the South Carolina Baptist Education and Missionary Convention. Speaking at a Columbia news conference, Snoddy said God made the earth, and humans must be stewards of creation. Global warming unduly impacts African Americans, whose lower incomes make it harder for them to avoid health problems and other ill effects, leaders said....
Survey Cruise Records Second-Largest "Dead Zone" in Gulf of Mexico NOAA-supported scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium found the size of this year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be 7,988 square miles, slightly smaller than the predicted record size of 8,800 square miles and similar to the area measured in 2007. Scientists think Hurricane Dolly’s wind and waves may have added oxygen to the zone to reduce its size. The research cruise, led by LUMCON’s Nancy Rabalais, PhD., found this year’s dead zone is the second largest on record since measurements began in 1985 and is larger than the land area of the state of Massachusetts. The average size of the dead zone over the past five years has been 6,600 square miles, much larger than the interagency Gulf of Mexico/Mississippi River Watershed Nutrient Task force goal of reducing the Zone to 2,000 square miles....
A Country At Mercy Of Environmentalists Let's face it. The average individual American has little or no clout with Congress and can be safely ignored. But it's a different story with groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy. When they speak, Congress listens. Unlike the average American, they are well organized, loaded with cash and well positioned to be a disobedient congressman's worse nightmare. Their political and economic success has been a near disaster for our nation. For several decades, environmentalists have managed to get Congress to keep most of our oil resources off-limits to exploration and drilling. They've managed to have the Congress enact onerous regulations that have made refinery construction impossible. Similarly, they've used the courts and Congress to completely stymie the construction of nuclear power plants. As a result, energy prices are at historical highs and threaten our economy and national security. What's the political response to our energy problems? It's more congressional and White House kowtowing to environmentalists, farmers and multibillion-dollar corporations such as Archer Daniels Midland....
Feds indict 3 in Wis. attack on US Forest Service Three environmental activists were indicted on charges that they helped vandalize a U.S. Forest Service research station in northern Wisconsin, prosecutors said Tuesday. A recently unsealed indictment said members of the Earth Liberation Front and Earth First damaged the property in Rhinelander in 2000 because they erroneously believed that scientists were performing genetic research on trees. Katherine Christianson of Santa Fe, N.M., Aaron Ellringer of Eau Claire, Wis., and Bryan Rivera of Olympia, Wash., were charged with conspiring to damage government property and damaging government property. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors said Christianson, Rivera and two others cut down 500 research trees and used spray paint and etching cream to vandalize government vehicles with ELF references, including: "ELF is watching the U.S. Forest Service." The indictment noted $500,000 in damage....
Forest Service pulls Smokey Bear ad Smokey Bear was unfair. The Forest Service said Tuesday it has canceled a public service ad in which the iconic bear warned that sparks from off-road vehicles could start a wildfire. Off-road groups had complained that the ad sent the wrong message that riders operating ATVs in a legal manner can start forest fires. "The mutual goal of the Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council is to spread Smokey's enduring message of preventing wildfires to all forest users," the Forest Service said in a statement Tuesday. Because the ATV ad was interpreted as unfairly targeting off-road riders, the Forest Service has requested that TV stations and other media outlets that had broadcast the ad discontinue it, the Forest Service said. The BlueRibbon Coalition, an Idaho-based group that advocates for off-road vehicles, hailed the ad's withdrawal....
Colorado's roadless forest plan to get review As a federal advisory panel starts reviewing Colorado's plan to manage about 4 million acres of roadless areas in national forests, calls are growing for the state to scuttle the proposal and stick with a Clinton-era policy that's tougher than the policies of both the state and the Bush administration. State and U.S. Forest Service officials in Colorado traveled to Washington for an open house Tuesday and a hearing Wednesday before the Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee. Last week, the Forest Service issued a draft environmental impact statement and rules for managing the roadless areas scattered across several national forests in Colorado. Public hearings starting Aug. 18 will be held on the rules and public comments will be taken until Oct. 23....
Why US parks put land purchases on hold Threats to wildlife, open space, and cultural treasures – not to mention the prospect of a hotel popping up to despoil a natural vista – exist on up to 1.8 million acres of privately held parcels that the National Park Service would like to buy but cannot, according to a recent study by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), a nonprofit advocacy group. That huge backlog, which includes private land awaiting purchase inside parks (called “inholdings”) as well as neighboring parcels, is partly due to the glacial rate at which they’re being acquired. That reflects a lack of funds for land purchases – and a shift in priorities, observers say. Despite their potential historical value and proximity to parks, these inholdings and adjacent land are often unregulated and, many fear, vulnerable to development. Park Service land-acquisition budgets were cut from $147 million in 1999 to just $44 million this year, a 70 percent drop. Most parks have had little funding for land acquisition for years. Yet there’s a limit to how long even public-spirited land-owners like Fitzgerald are willing to wait....The Feds already own over 653 million acres, most of which is non-spectacular. According to a 2004 report, 5.1 million acres are classified as "vacant" with "no definable purpose". Instead of just acquiring more and more land (they currently own 29% of all acreage within the US), they should enter into land exchanges to acquire environmentally sensitive lands. Congressional appropriations for land acquisition are unnecessary and a waste.
Lenado landowners challenge use of Forest Service road The owners of 96 acres of land above Lenado have told the U.S. Forest Service that a federal road leading up to Larkspur Mountain and Kobey Park is crossing their private property without a legal easement. The owners of Last Chance Number 2 Inc., Daniel Delano and Frank Peters, want to leverage that claim to get the Forest Service to stop permitting commercial winter snowmobile use on Forest Development Road 103 (FDR 103). And they want the Forest Service to develop another access point to the Kobey Park area. “Snowmobile use was the genesis for our problems with the road use,” said Peters, “and most specifically, Howard Vagneur’s commercial snowmobile operation in Lenado, which we think was illegally established.”....
Oregon's Sandy River successfully reinvents itself after dam removal As dams go, Marmot Dam on the Sandy River wasn't huge. But now that it's gone, its impact is turning out to be enormous. The removal of the nearly 50-foot-high dam by Portland General Electric in October gave scientists perhaps their best chance to watch as a river digested a vast amount of rocks, sand and gravel collected over many decades in a reservoir. Some had worried that sediment piled behind the dam would suffocate salmon and block tributaries downstream. It did nothing of the sort. In fact, the river has since digested the equivalent of about 150 Olympic-size swimming pools full of sediment -- without a hiccup. "Never has this much sediment been released at once into such an active and hungry river," said Gordon Grant, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station. He has studied the dam removal and given presentations on the results at conferences from Sacramento to Venice, Italy. The river has so far removed about half the material backed up behind the dam. It's difficult to tell that a dam once blocked the popular salmon stream. The river shoves and piles gravel and cuts into the shore the way a healthy river should. Scientists were especially impressed with how rapidly the river scoured the sediment away. Some models predicted the river would need two to five years to carry off half the sediment pile, but it did so in months....
Peppers Pride's record bid rained out
Peppers Pride's bid for history will have to wait. Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico was forced to cancel its entire card on Sunday after being hit with more than six inches of rain as part of the Hurricane Dolly storm system. Peppers Pride was to have run in the $55,000 Lincoln Handicap, a race in which she was attempting to win her 17th straight race and set a modern record for consecutive wins by a Thoroughbred. Her next start is to be determined, said her trainer, Joel Marr. 'I'm not making any plans today," he said. Ruidoso had scheduled 10 stakes worth a cumulative $1 million for Sunday, and those races will be brought back for Saturday, according to Robbie Junk, the racing secretary at Ruidoso. Whether Peppers Pride runs depends on what happens over the course of the next week, said Marr. He said he has never seen the extent of rain at Ruidoso that it was hit with on Sunday. "It's all going to depend on what we can do with her," he said. "I can guarantee you we're not training for several days." Marr said the next stakes option for Peppers Pride on the New Mexico calendar is the $50,000 Carlos Salazar for statebred fillies and mares at The Downs at Albuquerque on Aug. 17....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NEW MEXICANS...

Wouldn't it be something if all county ordinances, sheriff's arrests and judicial decisions for the last 10 years were invalid. Could this be true? Check out my recent post All County Officials Illegally Elected? at New Mexico Liberty.
Solar lobby hopes bill has 9th life f at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And then, if you are a lobbyist working on the renewable energy tax credits, try a few more times. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) counts eight Senate votes so far this year on bills that would extend breaks to the solar and wind energy industries. The tax breaks enjoy widespread support in Congress, and the industries say they are critical to their growth. So far, though, none of the votes has resulted in a bill reaching the president’s desk to extend the subsidies beyond their end-of-year expiration date. Senate Republicans, backed by business lobbies like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, object to “pay-fors” in bills that would offset the costs of the tax breaks to the treasury. This week, there could be a ninth vote, to shut off debate on an extender bill....
More Bad News for the Global Warmers The issue of global warming rages on is some minds. Remarkably, there really hasn’t been much of a debate, not a serious science debate anyway. There have been shouting and screaming, predictions of doom, and the willingness to destroy our energy sources and our economy to “save the planet”. But as P.J. O’Rourke noted, there are a lot of people who would do anything to “save the planet”, except take a science course. While there hasn’t been a true debate, there has been a hugely one-sided angry monologue, heaping scorn upon those who dare ask for evidence. The one side has been heavily funded by the government, foundations, and individual contributions. The so-called “warmers” have enjoyed the unstinting support of a scientifically illiterate media, the movie industry, and many institutions that have been on the receiving end of an estimated $5 billion annually for nearly 2 decades. That will buy a lot of supporters, Ph.Ds or not. The world of science is moving quickly past these questionable events in an expanding universe of new evidence, which is showing that the current state of the global warming theory is in serious decline....

Monday, July 28, 2008

From NCBA….

CALL TO ACTION: Call or write your Representative TODAY about H.R. 6598

_______________________________________________________________

On Thursday, July 31st, the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee for Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security will be holding a hearing on H.R. 6598 the “Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008.” (scroll to the bottom for the full text of the bill)

H.R. 6598 is sponsored by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) and currently has 12 co-sponsors.

H.R. 6598 would:

· set a criminal penalty of up to 3 years for anyone who knowingly possesses, ships, transports, purchases, sells, delivers or receives a horse with the intent of slaughtering that horse for human consumption.

· require the U.S. Attorney General to both prosecute these cases and find “humane placement” for the horses they confiscate.

This bill takes away the ability of producers to sell their horses, is not helping horses but is really hurting them. These horses suffer more neglect, starvation and abandonment from these bans than they would if the market was allowed to work.

PLEASE help us oppose this bill by sending the letter attached and to your Representative TODAY!

THANK YOU!
Reid plan splits Dems Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has split the Democratic front opposed to drilling with a plan that would open new areas for exploration. Reid’s proposal was meant to insulate Senate Democratic candidates from public anger over gas prices. Instead, it has created a divide with liberal colleagues and drawn fire from senior House Democrats. A group of influential Senate and House Democrats has sided with environmental groups against Reid to call exploration in new areas unnecessary. The legislation, drafted by Reid and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), would open nearly a billion new acres off the coast of Alaska to study for drilling. It would also dramatically accelerate oil leases in the western and central Gulf of Mexico. "I am unalterably opposed to drilling,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who cited a massive oil spill that closed nearly 100 miles of the Mississippi River last week. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) urged Reid to be “very careful about drilling off the coast of Alaska.” Reid could also face resistance from other Democrats who oppose drilling off Alaska’s shores....
Every Man a Jed Clampett For years, the stunning success of Southwest Airlines has been a staple feature story on the business pages of major newspapers. In an era of rising prices and busted planes, Southwest seems to float above the fray. Even as the bottom lines of their airborne brethren fall ever lower—other airlines reported a collective $6 billion loss this quarter—Southwest is reporting its 69th consecutive profitable quarter. Tickets are still pretty cheap, and there are no new surcharges for checked bags, something the company has been making much of in its ads. Southwest itself credits its profitability to savvy, forward-looking commodoties hedging to compensate for higher fuel prices. In fact, the company has saved about $3.5 billion with hedging since 1998, a figure equal to 83 percent of its profits over that time. Hedging means that a company locks in a price for oil at a fixed date in the future by signing a contract today promising to buy the oil at that price, no matter what happens to the market in the interim. If prices go up, Southwest speculators get to buy below-market rates. If prices go down, they have to pay more than their competitors for the same oil. Southwest has hedged so well that the company paid about $2.35 a gallon for jet fuel this quarter. Those with less speculative skill would have had to cough up $3.95 for the same gallon on the spot market. Southwest, which also signed the Stop Oil Speculation spam, isn't the only airline to hedge on the price of oil−they all do, just not nearly as successfully. Apparently, when airlines buy oil futures on a bet that the prices will eventually go up, it's good business practice, but when people who don't happen to be the treasurers of airlines do the same thing, it's "rampant speculation" that "upsets the natural relationship between supply and demand."....
Had Enough Of Eco-Lobby's Energy Prices?
For more than a half century, the increasingly powerful and wealthy environmentalist organizations have used laws like the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to impose a harsh, uncompromising regime on the nation's economy, on families' pocketbooks, and on every resident's quality of life. Their frequently unfounded and typically exaggerated claims of countless species of plant and wildlife becoming extinct unless human endeavors are halted or severely curtailed underlies their ultimate goal of returning major portions of the country to an imagined pristine state. The sharp run-up in oil and gas prices is their "perfect storm" for accomplishing that goal. Consider that in the 1980s the U.S. Geological Survey estimated some 17 billion barrels of recoverable oil lie under the 1.5-million acre Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. One million barrels of oil produces 27 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel; here there are potentially 17 billion barrels. Many urged drilling in ANWR to capture this oil and natural gas. With modern drilling technology, only about 2,000 surface acres would be required to recover the oil and natural gas under the Coastal Plain. But the environmentalist organizations began a "no drilling in ANWR" PR campaign, claiming that wildlife species such as the porcupine, caribou, arctic wolf, polar bear and others were on the brink of oblivion, and would be lost forever if drilling occurred. Several bills to allow extraction of this oil and natural gas were presented in Congress over the past 20 years, but each was either killed or vetoed. Nor was there scientific evidence supporting the claim that any of the wildlife species were even close to the brink of extinction. Besides ANWR, the U. S. Mineral Management Service has estimated as much as 19 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lie under the Atlantic, Pacific and Florida Gulf coasts....
'Only you' can change how we deal with fire Salmon outnumber people in the rugged backcountry outside McCall where Cris Bent and his wife, Nanci, bought a cabin 33 years ago to immerse themselves in the wild, green landscape. Today, much of that terrain is black after several large wildfires swept through the area last summer. Bent, the fire chief for the cabin community of Secesh, agrees with scientists and forest managers that the forest would be healthier if more fires were allowed to burn. But he shares his neighbors' grief at the loss of the forest he loved. "We're here because we like trees," he said. "If we didn't, we'd move to the desert." More than 60 years of Smokey Bear still keeps federal agencies from letting more wildfires burn, despite scientific evidence that forests need fire - and that homes can be saved by cheaper, more effective means. Loggers don't want to watch harvestable trees destroyed. Hunters don't want to lose traditional hunting grounds. Hikers, cabin owners, mountain bikers, fishermen and anyone else with a favorite spot in the vast wildlands of the West don't want that spot to change....
11th-hour effort to save a Native tongue Several dozen children stand atop a bluff to face the morning sun as it peeks over a distant ridge. "Nyims thava hmado we'e," they chant, meaning "Boys greet the morning sun." And then for girls: "Nyima thava masi:yo we'e." Jorigine Bender, the teacher, urges them to repeat the dawn greeting with raised hands. "Everybody, turn toward your brother, the sun." The youths, Hualapai and Yavapai, recite the phrases in self-conscious, uncertain unison. The language is Pai, passed down to them through generations but unintelligible to the children. In an America dominated by computers, TV and video games, a decreasing number of Native Americans, especially younger ones, can speak or understand their Native tongues....
NATIONAL DAY OF THE AMERICAN COWBOY

Congress has designated July 26 as the National Day of the American Cowboy. Go here to find out more about this annual celebration, and here is a sample of articles about events held this year:

Cowboys add punch to museum festival
Proud Cowboys Still Tall in the Saddle
Okeechobee Co. Holds National Day Of American Cowboy
Cowboy heritage to be celebrated in Bisbee
Wyo celebrates National Day of the American Cowboy


This is the first year this event has been celebrated in Dona Ana County, and I was honored to be the first person this day was dedicated to by the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce. You can see a poster of this event by going here(pdf).

And for those of you who have asked for more information about me, and for those who know me and have asked that I share more of my personal story, here is what was presented during the ceremony:


Frank DuBois is a descendant of a family who has ranched in the Corona, New Mexico area for over one hundred years. The town site of Corona was part of his Great Grandfather’s homestead, and his Grandfather homesteaded at what is now Claunch, New Mexico. Frank worked on the ranch during the summer and attended school in Albuquerque until 1965, when he moved to Las Cruces to attend college.

While a student at NMSU, and as a result of his timid demeanor, studious ways and impeccable behavior, Frank picked up the nickname of “Mad Dog”. Frank roped calves, steer wrestled, and also managed to earn bachelors and masters degrees.

Upon graduation, Frank worked as an inspector for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture for a year, and then joined the Washington DC staff of U.S. Senator Pete Domenici. For the next five years DuBois handled agriculture and natural resource issues for the Senator.

In 1981 DuBois was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior for Land & Water Resources by President Reagan. There he worked on issues involving the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Office of Water Policy.

In 1983 DuBois returned to New Mexico as the Assistant Director of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and in 1987 was appointed New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture, a position he held for over 15 years. During those years Frank worked closely with agricultural producers to represent their interests in New Mexico and on the national level. DuBois also served as President of the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association and the Western Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and served on the board of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Frank also founded the “Rounders Award” which annually recognized individuals who “lived, promoted or articulated the western way of life.”

Honors received by Secretary DuBois were: The New Mexico Cattle Growers “Cattleman Of The Year”, the New Farm & Livestock Bureau’s “Distinguished Service To Agriculture”, Progressive Farmer Magazine’s “Southwest Man Of The Year”, and the New Mexico CowBelle’s “Man Of The Year”. In December 2000 in Washington, D.C., DuBois was presented the DreamMaker Award. The award was presented by the Going the Distance for MS Research Foundation for “. . . inspiring us all to live full, productive, and happy lives no matter what our circumstances.”

Frank stepped out from behind his desk in 1989 and decided to be a cowboy again. He joined the Riff Raff Roping Club to team rope. However, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990. This didn’t stop DuBois, who went on to win 4 saddles, 7 buckles and a hay barn. The exploits of Frank and his horse Buster were recognized in an article in the Western Horseman magazine.

DuBois ran his last steer in May of 1998. Like many, Frank had been critical of NMSU for their lack of support for rodeo athletes and he decided to do something about it. He founded the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship in the Fall of 2000 and awarded the first scholarships in the Fall of 2001. Frank then lobbied the legislature for money to hire a rodeo coach, and then the following year he lobbied for money for practice stock and additional scholarships.

And the result? Under the guidance of coach Jim Dewey Brown, the NMSU rodeo team has brought home 10 team regional championships, 37 individual event regional championships and 5 individual event national championships. The rodeo program has also produced 9 Academic All-Americans and is now the third largest program in the nation.

Most recently, DuBois has received national attention, including that of Fox News, for his weblog, “The Westerner”, where he covers issues of importance to westerners, including water rights, property rights, western agriculture and the sport of rodeo.

DuBois lives south of Las Cruces with his wife, Sharon. They have two grown children, Sevon Nicole and Frank Austin, and six grandchildren.
Western governors offer greenhouse emissions plan Seven Western states are joining four Canadian provinces to propose a plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions through use of a "cap and trade" system. The draft plan, made public Wednesday by Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski's office, is aimed at gradually reducing carbon emissions across Oregon, Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Washington. The plan, which also would extend to British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec in Canada, is keyed to a cap and trade system on utilities and industries that are major sources of greenhouse gases. Such a system would reduce pollution by requiring those sectors to meet tough emissions standards. Under a cap and trade program, businesses that cannot cut their emissions because of cost or technical hurdles would be allowed to buy emission credits from companies that have achieved cleaner emissions. The plan was drafted by the Western Climate Initiative, a group created by Kulongoski with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire in February 2007. In Oregon, it will affect about 10 utilities and about 50 companies that put more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, officials said....
New U.S. group defends ethanol in food vs fuel fight A new group is adding its voice to the debate on using crops to produce alternative fuels such as ethanol amid rising food prices and shortages in some countries. The Alliance for Abundant Food and Energy in Washington D.C. was created by Archer Daniels Midland Co, DuPont Co, Deere & Co, Monsanto Co and the Renewable Fuels Association (www.foodandenergy.org). "There are critics who are trying to create an either-or decision between food and fuel," said Mark Kornblau, the alliance's executive director. "We believe this is a false choice. Today, more than 90 percent of crops in the United States and around the world are used exclusively for food." The group believes that agricultural innovation -- such as genetically modified crops -- is the best way to address global hunger, not reducing biofuel production. Decatur, Illinois-based ADM is one of the world's largest producers of biofuels, and Monsanto is a leading producer of GMO seeds....
In trees vs. solar battle, old trees score a new law In Silicon Valley's famous "trees vs. solar panels" battle, the trees have won. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday signed into law a bill that guarantees if California property owners plant a tree before a neighbor installs solar panels on their roof, then the neighbor can't require the tree to be cut or trimmed, even if it grows to cast shade on the panels. State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, wrote the bill in response to a Sunnyvale case that made national news and threatened to touch off statewide backyard battles as residential solar power installations are growing in popularity. In the case, Richard Treanor and Carolynn Bissett of Sunnyvale were criminally prosecuted under an obscure 1970s law because redwood trees in their backyard cast a shadow over their neighbor's solar panels....
Climate change to threaten Nevada water supplies limate change could come with profound risk to Nevada's water supplies and at great cost to the state's economy, a new study asserts. The report released this week by the National Conference of State Legislatures and Center for Integrative Environmental Research concluded that rising temperatures associated with a warming climate could create "profound drought conditions" in Nevada, which was examined along with 11 other states around the country. "Some of these impacts are already noticeable and it's certainly not going to get better as climate change progresses," said Daria Karetnikov, a researcher at the University of Maryland who compiled the report. By 2100, climate change brought about by greenhouse gas emissions could cause the average temperature in Nevada to increase by up to 4 degrees Fahrenheit in spring and fall and by up to 6 degrees in the summer and winter, the report said. The result will be changes in precipitation and evaporation patterns and decreased water availability statewide, the report contends....
Warming may shorten winters If greenhouse gas emissions aren’t curtailed, climate change will reduce Eagle County’s snowpack by 57 percent by 2085, according to a new report. “The state’s most popular tourist activity is at risk from climate change,” said the report, published Wednesday by the Center for Integrative Environmental Research at the University of Maryland. The report, “Economic Impacts of Climate Change on Colorado,” does not paint a pretty picture for skiing — and the attendant industry of real estate — over the next century. The “snow season” could become 30 days shorter and the snowline could rise by 328 to 1,312 feet if emissions continue at the current rate, the study said....
Global Warming Could be Causing a Kitten Boom, Experts Say Each spring, the onset of warm weather and longer days drives female cats into heat, resulting in a few months of booming kitten populations known as "kitten season." "The brain receives instructions to produce a hormone that basically initiates the heat cycle in a cat," said Nancy Peterson, feral cat program manager of the Humane Society of the United States, "and those instructions are affected by the length of day and usually the rising temperatures of spring."....
Governor vetoes climate change curriculum California public students will stick to reading, writing and arithmetic, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decided as he vetoed a bill late Friday that would have required climate change be added to schools' curriculum. The measure, sponsored by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, also would have required future science textbooks to include climate change as a subject. In January, the state Senate approved the bill, SB 908, by a 26-13 vote. Only two Republicans supported the proposal. In his veto statement, Schwarzenegger said he supported education that spotlights the dangers of climate change. However, the Republican governor said he was opposed to educational mandates from Sacramento. "I continue to believe that the state should refrain from being overly prescriptive in specific school curriculum, beyond establishing rigorous academic standards," he said....
N.M. engineer appeals ruling on domestic well law New Mexico State Engineer John D'Antonio has appealed a recent district court decision that found the state's domestic well law unconstitutional. D'Antonio says in a news release he must appeal the decision to the state Court of Appeals because laws enacted by the Legislature are presumed to be constitutional. He says that during the appeal the state engineer's office will continue to accept domestic well applications and process them. State District Judge J.C. Robinson ruled earlier this month in Silver City that the state engineer can't treat domestic well applications differently than other types of water rights applications. If Robinson's ruling stands, it could be more difficult and time consuming for someone building a home in a rural area to get a permit to drill a well.
Udall, Salazars seek to have Roan leases yanked Sen. Ken Salazar and congressmen Mark Udall and John Salazar have asked federal officials to withdraw parcels on western Colorado's Roan Plateau from an upcoming auction of oil and gas leases. Leases on 55,186 acres of public land on the Roan Plateau are among those up for bid in the Aug. 14th auction by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The Salazars and Udall sent a letter Wednesday to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne asking that public land on the Roan be excluded from leasing so they can pursue a bill that would include protections favored by Gov. Bill Ritter and other Coloradans. The Roan Plateau, about 180 miles west of Denver, is prized for its mineral riches as well as its wildlife habitat and pristine backcountry. The three Democrats also said Colorado might not get any revenue if the BLM sells the leases before waste from shale oil research is cleaned up at Anvil Points on the plateau. Mineral royalties and fees from energy development on federal land are usually split between the state and federal government. Revenue from federal leases on the Roan Plateau has flowed into a fund set up 1997 to finance the Anvil Points cleanup....
Prediction wolves will become inbred sways judge's decision to halt delisting A dire prediction is at the heart of a federal judge's recent decision to halt wolf delisting: If states in the Northern Rockies proceed as planned, wolves in the Greater Yellowstone area will become inbred in fewer than 60 years. This prediction serves as the foundation for U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy's 40-page ruling to reinstate Endangered Species Act protection for the canines at least until he has fully considered the larger lawsuit against delisting. The conservation groups who sued for an immediate injunction against the delisting decision argued that if the three wolf populations fail to interbreed with one another, which they say the state wolf management plans all but ensure, the wolves in and around Yellowstone will suffer genetic degradation over time. They also claimed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to follow its own criteria for establishing a recovered wolf population, which calls for genetic exchange between the three groups, creating what's called a "metapopulation." In the injunction ruling the judge sided with the conservation groups on both points. "Genetic exchange that has not taken place between larger subpopulations under ESA protections is not likely to occur with fewer wolves under state management," Molloy wrote....
Lagging wolf numbers get a closer look Mexican Gray wolves have had a rough go of it lately, leading wildlife agencies to rethink part of the game plan. “The last few years have not been good, and our numbers are not growing,” said Terry Johnson, endangered species specialist for Arizona Game and Fish Department. “It’s time to change the game.” The rules of game — guidelines to be precise — are made by a six-agency group, known as the Adaptive Management Oversight Committee. Johnson chairs the committee, which meets quarterly. At its next meeting, AMOC will see what can be done to get wolf recovery back on track. Mexican gray wolves had been wiped out in Arizona. In 1998, they were reintroduced to the Blue Range area in eastern Arizona — and allowed to range into western New Mexico. The wolves’ return triggered a political range war between conservation groups and ranchers. Meetings over the wolves have turned rancorous at times. The dispute has spilled over into the courts. The wolves meanwhile continue to hold their own, but barely. Right now, the population stands about 50 and has stalled there for a number of reasons, Johnson said. One includes a recent spate of killings, some possibly unlawful, he said....
Agency, groups mull Tenderfoot purchase The U.S. Forest Service and conservation groups are investigating the purchase of 8,200 acres of privately owned land in the Tenderfoot Creek drainage of the Little Belt Mountains, a popular area to fish, hunt and hike. The land, which formerly was a sheep ranch and also is part of the larger Smith River drainage, is owned by the Billings-based Bair Ranch Foundation. The public will get the chance to see the land during a field trip Saturday hosted by the White Sulphur Ranger District of the Lewis and Clark National Forest. "We'd love to see a great turnout of people who are interested in this unique opportunity," said Carol Hatfield, the ranger for the White Sulphur Springs District. Several generations of residents previously accessed the area with permission from the ranch, she said. The ranch managers want the Forest Service to acquire the land so access can continue....So, the foundation isn't going to allow access?
West Texas rancher tells cautionary tale of pipe leaks The groundwater on part of Jay Marcom’s ranch does something that most water won’t do: It catches fire. A leaky natural gas pipeline near a compressor station polluted the ground water with benzene, xylene and toluene — all linked to cancer in humans. Test wells and barrels of excavated dirt from the site cover an area about half the size of a football field. The dirt on the surface smells like motor oil, and water dipped from the test well smells like gasoline. With a camera crew watching, Marcom squeezed the liquid from a sock used to soak up the slick, and lit it with a flaming piece of paper. Three times....
N.M. researchers hope to cultivate `calming herb'
The plant has been described by local residents as magical, its qualities almost mythical. The native herb yerba mansa, translated from Spanish as the "calming herb," has been used medicinally for centuries throughout the Southwest by American Indians and Hispanics to treat ailments ranging from toothaches to sinus infections. Though the herb is relatively unknown outside the region, experts in the medicinal herb industry say yerba mansa could become as popular as goldenseal and echinacea. But before the ancient medicinal herb can get its day in the sun, researchers must find a way to protect the ecologically threatened plant from depletion by habitat loss and urban development. Charles Martin, a researcher at New Mexico State University's Sustainable Agriculture Science Center, has found a solution. He has made yerba mansa a viable agricultural crop for New Mexico's small farmers. With antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, yerba mansa contains a bounty of purported health benefits. Also called yerba del manso, lizard tail or swamp root, the small plant with large white flower spikes is a perennial native to riverbanks and wetlands in the Southwest and northern Mexico....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

And the horse he rode in on
Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Julie Carter

Cowboys that hang in the same circles identify each other by their ride long before they recognize a face.

In the world outside of cowboy, if you were to inquire about someone in town, you might get a litany of descriptions. "Gwen? Sure, I know her. She's a marine biologist, has a couple kids and lives over on the hill above the golf course."

Or, "Bob? He's looking pretty good for his age, but he did just win a Nobel prize for something no one understands. He's some sort of nuclear physicist. He lives down by the lake, has a boat at the marina."

With cowboys, the dialogue will go something like this:

"Dan? He's the one that rides that well-made paint horse and ropes heels. That's sure a nice horse. I used to have one about like that and, man, I won a lot of money on him."

Or, "Jess? I don't know him personally, but I sure like that big blue horse he rides."

Cowboys will notice and evaluate a horse long before they even look at the rider. When they do get around to noticing the rider, they will already have an impression of the type of person who would ride a horse like that.

The stars of the rodeo world are no exception to this ironclad rule. Cowboys who are likely to never come into personal contact with the sport's champions will be very aware of the horses they ride.

Ask any cowboy that's paying attention what kind of horse Clay Cooper rides, and he'll be able to tell you a good bit about the favorite gray horse.

They will all be up on the fact that nine-time National Finals qualifier Stran Smith has a new mare named Destiny, to replace his long-time ride, Topper, that was killed in a hit-and-run when he wandered onto a highway.

Some horses achieve as much fame as the riders. Viper, Speed Williams' good horse, has a rope named for him. Many pastures, barns, ranches, sometimes even the children, are named for a favorite horse.

The women of the sport are no exception. Every barrel racer in the world can tell you that Charmayne James spent $150,000 getting her world-beater, one-of-a-kind horse, Scamper, cloned.

In the world of ropers, cowboys are often introduced according to their horses. They might be marine biologists or nuclear physicists, but no cowboy will ever know or care.

Jess was calling around lining up new partners for a big upcoming roping. He had gotten a phone number from another roper by describing the horse ridden by the man he wanted to call.

When he called the man, the first thing said after Jess introduced himself was, "You ride that big blue horse, the one with the brand that's a bunch of numbers?" Everybody was identified, so the deal was made.

Cowboys will spend more time getting their horses ready, tuned-up, tack checked, trailer ready, gear, feed and medicine loaded, than they will on themselves. Hours will be devoted to the horses, generally starting way ahead of any scheduled roping or rodeo.

About fifteen minutes before time to leave, they will run in the house and grab the first shirt in the closet. Good to go.

They all know that how they look doesn't much matter to any other cowboy, but they will be judged by the horse they ride in on.

Julie can be reached for comment through her web site at www.julie-carter.com
FLE

U.S. Is Alone in Rejecting All Evidence if Police Err The United States is the only country to take the position that some police misconduct must automatically result in the suppression of physical evidence. The rule applies whether the misconduct is slight or serious, and without regard to the gravity of the crime or the power of the evidence. “Foreign countries have flatly rejected our approach,” said Craig M. Bradley, an expert in comparative criminal law at Indiana University. “In every other country, it’s up to the trial judge to decide whether police misconduct has risen to the level of requiring the exclusion of evidence.” But there are signs that some justices on the United States Supreme Court may be ready to reconsider the American version of the exclusionary rule. Writing for the majority two years ago, Justice Antonin Scalia said that at least some unconstitutional conduct ought not require “resort to the massive remedy of suppressing evidence of guilt.” The court will soon have an opportunity to clarify matters. The justices will hear arguments on Oct. 7 about whether methamphetamines and a gun belonging to Bennie Dean Herring, of Brundidge, Ala., should be suppressed because the officers who conducted the search mistakenly believed he was subject to an outstanding arrest warrant as a result of careless record-keeping by another police department....
BATFE: ANY SEMI-AUTO CAN BE A MACHINE GUN On July 2 I went to jail. Happily for me, I left right away. Sadly for David Olofson and his family, he had to stay, and will have to stay for 30 months in the Federal Correctional Institute in Sandstone, Minnesota. Why is the federal government incarcerating an Army reservist from Berlin, Wisconsin who has 16 years of service, a mortgage, a wife and three kids? They convicted him for knowingly transferring an unregistered machine gun. Since the case was brought by the rogue agency -- the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) -- we must assume that not only was Olofson innocent until proven guilty, but that he is still innocent after conviction. That is why Gun Owners of America is handling Olofson’s appeal. As our attorneys have looked into the records of the case, it is obvious that a miscarriage of justice has been perpetrated. The chief piece of evidence is an AR-15 made by Olympic Arms many years ago. Olofson had loaned the gun to a young man, who was his neighbor. At a range the gun fired two bursts of three rounds each and then jammed. Normal people would understand that a gun that jams is malfunctioning and seek to get it fixed. For the Bureau (aka The Gang), a malfunctioning gun is an excellent opportunity to rack up an easy conviction on an illegal machine gun charge. The gun was tested twice ... both times with very different results. The first test came back with a report that the gun is a semi-automatic rifle. The next test came back with a report that it had fired a 20-round burst, and was thus a machine gun. Firearms Enforcement Officer Max Kingrey got the gun to do something it had never done before....
Anti-Terror Funds Questioned The Department of Homeland Security announced $1.8 billion in anti-terrorism grants yesterday, stirring a growing debate among state and local officials nationwide over whether such funds are coming at the expense of other law enforcement priorities that some say are more urgent, such as fighting drugs, gangs and violent crime. In a sign of shifting political winds seven years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the nation's police chiefs and the heads of its 57 biggest police departments objected this year to the Bush administration's focus on domestic security, saying it has come as the White House proposes slashing traditional police-assistance programs by $2.7 billion as part of its annual budget tussle with Congress. At the same time, leaders in Washington and New York -- both of which largely beat back a move in 2006 to cut their funds by 40 percent -- say the focus on cities at highest risk of attack is being diluted by increasing competition. At Congress's demand, DHS added 14 new cities to the list of high-risk urban areas, bringing the total to 60. Tom Frazier, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, said police face new responsibilities to counter crimes such as identity theft and illegal immigration even as federal aid for law enforcement dwindles because of "atrophy and attrition."....
Immigrant Rights Groups Challenge ID Theft Arrests
For years, the chief punishment for immigrants caught working illegally in the United States has been deportation. But prosecutors are now bringing criminal charges that include aggravated identity theft, which can bring a hefty prison sentence. Immigrant rights groups and some members of Congress are challenging the practice. A congressional panel is meeting Thursday to look at the controversial fallout from an immigration raid on an Iowa meat-packing plant in May. Not long ago, illegal immigrants swept up in such raids faced administrative charges and swift deportation. But in recent years, the Bush administration has started bringing criminal charges against immigrants who use fake documents, including stolen Social Security numbers. After the raid at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, more than 250 workers were sentenced to five months in prison. Rights groups, defense lawyers and even some judges are questioning the Bush administration's strategy....

Friday, July 25, 2008

Arctic May Hold 90 Billion Barrels of Oil, U.S. Says The Arctic may hold 90 billion barrels of oil, more than all the known reserves of Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Mexico combined, and enough to supply U.S. demand for 12 years, the U.S. Geological Survey said. One-third of the undiscovered oil is in Alaskan territory, the agency found in a study released today. By contrast, a geologic formation beneath the North Pole claimed by Russian scientists last year probably holds just 1.2 percent of the Arctic's crude, the U.S. report showed. Energy producers such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Chevron Corp. have accelerated exploration of the northernmost regions for untapped reserves amid record prices and receding access to deposits in more hospitable climates. Russia's move to scrap a United Nations convention and carve out an exclusive Arctic zone sparked protests from Canada, the U.S., Norway and Denmark. ``Most of the Arctic, especially offshore, is essentially unexplored with respect to petroleum,'' Donald Gautier, the project chief for the assessment, said in the report. ``The extensive Arctic continental shelves may constitute the geographically largest unexplored prospective area for petroleum remaining on Earth.''....
Arctic's oil could meet world demand for 3 years The Arctic Circle holds an estimated 90 billion barrels of recoverable oil, enough supply to meet current world demand for almost three years, the U.S. Geological Survey forecast on Wednesday. The government agency also said the area could contain 1,670 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas. The Arctic accounts for about 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil, 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas and 20 percent of the undiscovered natural gas liquids, the agency said in the first publicly available petroleum resource estimate of the entire area north of the Arctic Circle....
To Clean a Dirt Tank and the Real Loss I am not a range specialist, a botanist, or a biologist. The environmental impact of grazing will be left for others to argue. However, I do know a little about time. People pay for me my time, time I spend thinking or writing. I try to live my life by advice I was given as a teenager: where I allocate my time reveals what I value. So when I heard it took Tom Mobley, a rancher and retired banker, five months to navigate the Bureau of Land Management’s permit process to clean a dirt tank, I blanched and dialed his number. Mobley agreed to meet with me at his home, north of Las Cruces. I arrived 15 minutes late. On a ranch, you fix what breaks. Fences are mended, levees repaired, tractors older than grandchildren are made to run. Fixing what is broken is half the job. Summer floods breached a dirt tank on Mobley’s grazing allotment in the Sierra de las Uvas. The Citizen’s Proposal recommends 11,068 acres in the Sierra de las Uvas be designated as wilderness. Mobley grazes 900 acres adjoining his ranch of the proposed wilderness, now a Wilderness Study Area. Rains in the Sierra De Las Uvas come fast and sudden, carving rivers down the slopes, rushing to the Rio Grande. The breached dirt tank stores a little of the West’s most precious resource for livestock and passing wildlife....
Tug of war over Pinon Canyon ongoing Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar has held off the Army's plan to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site for a year and the Democrat repeated his intention Wednesday to keep a ban on the expansion in the federal budget through next year. "I will continue to fight for that moratorium and want us to succeed in keeping it in place through next year," he told reporters in a telephone press conference Wednesday. "In the meantime, the Army has released a report that takes some steps in the right direction by reducing the amount of acreage it wants and it speaks to preserving the ranching heritage of the area." Salazar credited the Army with shrinking its land request from 414,000 acres to just 100,000 acres - but said he found the Army's promise to create 100 or more civilian jobs at the training site to be vague and pegged too far in the future, perhaps in 2014 or 2015, to be convincing. He argued the Army made many promises 20 years ago in acquiring Pinon Canyon that it never kept. The ranchers and other critics opposing the expansion are not interested in seeing the Army expand the 238,000-acre training site, regardless of whether the Army can find a willing seller or offers economic incentives to local communities. They have been urging Salazar this week to keep resisting the expansion, arguing the Army has yet to prove any need for more land in Colorado. "In calling for this report, Congress directed the Army to do two things: Explain why it wanted to take more land from the people of Colorado and to fully explore other options," Lon Robertson, president of the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition, said in a statement. "It's clear from the report the Army did neither."....
SUV, pickup sales feel affects of gas crunch The rise in the price of oil and gas has had mixed effects on the sales of full-size pickups and sport utility vehicles, according to Clovis and Portales dealerships. “With the rise in gas prices we’ve seen an increased interest in fuel efficient cars and pickups with smaller engines,” said Shawn Hamilton, owner of Big Country Ford in Clovis and Hamilton GM Country in Portales. “The sales market in this area has been predominately SUVs and trucks,” Hamilton said. Hamilton said that the sale of SUVs and pickups has not stopped it just evened out with the sales of cars. The sales of pickups and SUVs was 3-1 when compared to car sales, Hamilton said. People that were buying the larger vehicles because they liked them, and didn’t necessarily need them for work, are now looking towards the fuel efficient cars., said Hamilton. “The ranchers and farmers in the area are still buying the trucks because they need them.”....
How the west is tamed Colorado’s history can be told in the history of its land. Land that has been taken, land that has been transferred, land that has been handed down within families, and land that has been lost. When interest in mining waned, Eagle County shifted to agriculture and ranching, generally favoring lettuce and potatoes. Surrounding areas like Steamboat Springs relied more heavily on cattle ranching, and had enough open space to allow the practice to flourish. Finally, skiing struck a chord with the public, and the industry took hold in the region. The town of Vail was jumpstarted, and quickly organized itself around the new industry. The rest is history. Development and rising real estate prices has pushed Eagle County’s ranching heritage to the western part of the county. Even there, development is squeezing ranchers out. Cattle ranching, once the hub of the local economy and kindling for the legend of Steamboat, appears to be riding off into the sunset. “It’s not one thing that’s changing in Steamboat, it’s everything,” said Andy Wirth, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of sales and marketing for Intrawest. “The scope and scale of improvements coming to Steamboat are without compare in the ski area’s history.”....
Boondoggle in the Fields The Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, was established in 1985. Designed to keep marginal lands out of Ag production, CRP pays farmers and ranchers to retire acreage from commodity production in exchange for an annual rental fee. In 2007 the cost of the program was $1.8 billion. With the raising price for commodities like corn and other grains due to the ethanol craze, farmers and ranchers are now crying to have their (CRP) contracts terminated. They are appealing to the Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Schafer, to terminate the contracts due to “national emergency” which they claim is the need to grow more food to reduce consumer prices. Of course, it is really about growing farmer and rancher bank accounts. Some environmental groups are opposing contract termination, and are trying to keep these lands in the CRP program, for a host of reason, not the least that CRP does reduce soil erosion, improvements in water quality, and provides wildlife habitat. Allowing farmers and ranchers to opt out of their contracts simply because they can “earn” more money farming the land for its green gold than farming the US Treasury is not a good reason to cancel the CRP contracts. The attempt to terminate contracts displays one of the greatest weaknesses of the CRP program—its lack of permanence. CRP benefits are transitory and at a high price--$36 billion so far and counting. It’s time to reconsider its future....
After Cattle Found Dead, Local Ranchers Suspect Oil Leakage Is To Blame A gruesome discovery for some Harrison County cattle ranchers when a number of their stock are mysteriously found dead. The ranch is a lease property off of FM 2879, about 6 miles north of Longview. KLTV 7's Bob Hallmark has more on the ranchers, who believe they know what happened to some of their cattle. "I found one calf dead. I come on over, and I found two more dead, and I've got eleven missing," Bev Davis tells us. "We were shocked, and then we didn't know what was wrong," says Alice Davis. The Davis' lease the land to graze cattle. An exploration company has a gas well on the land. It's a transfer line that helps the natural gas and oil. The Davis' suspect the problem is the well tank that overflowed into a retaining area....
Tests show 7 more infected cows in Daniel herd State Veterinarian Walt Cook said Thursday that seven more cows have tested positive for brucellosis in a western Wyoming cattle herd infected with the livestock disease. The results bring the total number of brucellosis-infected cattle in the herd to 36. So far, the 650-head herd near Daniel is the only herd in Wyoming to test positive for the bacterial infection, which can cause cows to suffer abortions and infertility. Wyoming and federal livestock officials are testing 14 other cattle herds that had contact with the infected herd. Of the two contact herds tested so far, both turned up negative. A third rancher opted to spay his herd, thereby preventing the potential spread of the disease, rather than test them. The state will lose its federal brucellosis-free status if another herd tests positive for brucellosis within two years....
State vet: Brucellosis came from elk Montana livestock officials announced this morning that the brucellosis that infected a Paradise Valley cow this spring likely came from elk, not bison. Marty Zaluski, the Montana state veterinarian, said recently completed genetic tests of the bacteria, along with other studies of the case, suggest the cow did not get the disease from bison in and around Yellowstone National Park, nor did the disease come from domestic stock. “We’ve now had two cases of the disease in two years, and no contact with bison in either case,” Zaluski said. “It supports our conclusion that elk were the source in both cases.” Brucellosis is a serious disease in livestock and wildlife that causes cows to abort their calves. The disease has been eradicated in the United States, except for bison and elk in and around Yellowstone Park, where the animals contracted the disease for domestic stock almost 100 years ago. Montana has recently experienced two incidents of the disease in cattle, which means the state will lose its official “brucellosis-free” status. The change means Montana ranchers will have to conduct more tests of their stock before shipping them to the out-of-state markets where almost all Montana’s cattle crop ends up....
State gets 45 herd buyouts in fight against bovine TB A state official said Thursday that a "significant step toward eradicating bovine TB from northwest Minnesota" has been taken. The Board of Animal Health has received 45 herd buyout contracts signed by cattle producers in the bovine tuberculosis management zone. Sixty-seven producers were eligible for the buyout. The board estimates that 6,800 cattle will be removed from the TB disease management area as a result of the buyout program. Herd owners participating in the buyout will be paid $500 per head, plus $75 per head per year until Minnesota regains TB-free status. All animals that are part of the buyout must be removed from the zone or slaughtered by Jan. 31, 2009....
Frontier spirit lives on in breakaway U.S. 'state' In early 1939, as talk of war in Europe clouded the horizon and hard economic times gripped the nation, a group of business and political leaders in this northern Wyoming city hatched an audacious, if not quite ridiculous, plan to break off huge chunks of Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana and form a new state. The tale of the would-be rebels, who called their new state Absaroka (accent on the second syllable), from the Crow word meaning "children of the large-beaked bird," then faded into the mist. Details were forgotten - how a baseball-player-turned-street-commissioner in Sheridan named A.R. Swickard appointed himself governor and began hearing writs of grievance, and how license plates were distributed along with pictures of Miss Absaroka 1939, the first and apparently last of her breed. There was even an Absarokan state visit, when the king of Norway made a swing through Montana. But here is the great open secret of this part of the West: The frontier spirit of the state that never was lives on....
Ranch Rodeo brings out true ranch skills A great night of family entertainment was delivered Ranch Rodeo style at the North Dakota State Fair. Twelve teams of five ranchers competed in five non-traditional rodeo events as they tried to chase down the 2008 State Fair Ranch Rodeo competition in the All Seasons Arena. Unlike a regular rodeo, the events at this skills event were the Trailer Relay, Trailer Loading, Range Doctoring, Steer Mugging and the most dangerous event of all, the Wild Cow Milking. The Gooseneck Implement team out of Palermo/Stanley won two of the five events to help them to the title. Team members Wade Skaar, Jeff Ruud, Jodi Bohmbach, Jed Bohmbach and Curt Meyer performed steady all-night long as they built a 40-point lead going into the last event and won the overall competition with 400 points. "We have all been doing all the rope skills since we were young," said team captain Wade Skaar. "The members on our team have been ranching for most of our lives." Jed Bohmbach stated that the Ranch Rodeo concept had been around for years, but went away for a long time. The event is just starting to reappear. The Gooseneck team finished third in last year's inaugural State Fair event....
Book recounts Rough Riders Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know about Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. What you may not know is the account of Rough Rider Billy McGinty, who was from right here in Oklahoma. “Oklahoma Rough Rider: Billy McGinty’s Own Story” is a manuscript written by McGinty himself with commentary and notes by Jim Fulbright and Albert Stehno. Fulbright and Stehno held a book-signing in Enid Tuesday evening at Soap-weed and Cactus. “It’s a rare firsthand account,” Fulbright said. “There are a lot of things in there people don’t know.” The manuscript, which has never before been published, was given to Stehno by McGinty’s granddaughter, Delma Imogene Crozier, in 1995. “(McGinty) had written one book that was published and it is scarce, and he had written this one, which was never published,” said Stehno, a Billings rancher and member of the Cherokee Strip Historical Society board. Stehno, a longtime friend of the McGinty family, began to research the story and the events therein and later collaborated with Fulbright to edit and write a commentary to this one-of-a-kind account....
Cookoff at the better-than-OK Cheyenne corral Walker Ryan poked at the crackling fire pit by his chuck wagon. He wore his game face, complete with bristly mustache. Come Saturday, he and his wife, Linda, face more than a half-dozen other challengers at the Frontier Days' chuck wagon cookoff in Cheyenne. It's at high noon, naturally. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday had their six-guns. The Ryans come armed with 300 pounds of cast-iron Lodge cookware, black as night and beautifully seasoned. A 16-inch-diameter Dutch oven that turns out feathery biscuits weighs 40 pounds. "Believe me, they've been well-used," Walker told me. "That 20-inch skillet? There's no telling how many potatoes have been fried in it." The Ryans hail from Ryan, Okla., a town named after Walker's great-uncle. They're beef ranchers, though Linda has a beauty salon on the side. They've competed in cowboy cookoffs for nearly a dozen years. It all started at the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering in Fort Worth, Texas. Over the years, the Ryans have patiently assembled a collection of vintage cooking gear: knives, a sharpening steel, a vintage coffee grinder, enamelware, ceramic crocks and a wooden water barrel. Judges at these events, where top prizes run about $1,000, assess contestants' campsites and wagons. Cookoff categories are meat, beans, potatoes, bread and dessert, which I suppose constitutes the cowboy food pyramid....